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Fall 2020 Seminar

Critical Theory in Legal Scholarship

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

Class participation will be expected and will be considered in grading. Students may write 5 short response papers or submit substantial writing within their own scholarly endeavors.

The goal of this seminar will be to help students imagine writing projects of their own which put critical theory from the humanities and from legal studies “to work” in understanding some concrete dimension of the law. Readings will be a selected range of “classics” in literary, social and legal theory, paired with remarkable examples of legal-academic writing strongly engaged with them. Our discussions will aim for mastery of the former and a nuanced understanding of the interventions and methods exemplified by the latter. The target audience of this Seminar is students with ambitions to write legal scholarship – whether LLM’s writing scholarly papers or 2L’s and 3L’s in the early, middle or late stages of framing an academic project. LLM’s are encouraged to enroll. SJD’s are welcome to audit.

Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, trans. Alastair Hannay (Penguin Classics 1985).

Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic, trans. Douglas Smith (Oxford University Press 2009)

Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume 1, trans. Robert Hurley (Vintage Books, 1990; 1st printing 1978)

David Kennedy and William W. Fisher III, The Canon of American Legal Thought (Princeton 2006)

Wendy Brown & Janet Halley, eds., Left Legalism/Left Critique (Duke U.P. 2002)